The Power of Commitment

“Our final winner is …”

I was one of 300 attendees at last year’s Bootcamp hoping that the next words out of Katie’s mouth would be my name.

I had sent in two submissions for the Bootcamp Spec Challenge. One of which I’d actually been sitting on for a year — too afraid to send it in.

I’ll cut to the chase here.

It was my name she called.

And, I’d like to share my experience with you … because even though you’ve heard this many times before from AWAI members … I truly believe that if it happened for me, it can happen for you.

Let me explain …

The real story here begins about eight weeks earlier in my somewhat chaotic home office (sound familiar?) in Knoxville, TN. It was early evening and we had just finished dinner.

Sitting at my desk, my fingers hovered nervously over the keyboard on my laptop. It was decision time. It was time to commit.

The thing is, I wanted to be a copywriter. I had hoped to live the writer’s life. But until this point, I knew deep down inside … in a place I didn’t talk about to anyone … I had never committed to my goal … my dream … of becoming a full-time, “A-level” copywriter.

But it was time. Time to go all in or fold.

With hands shaking and visions of success and failure racing through my head … it was time to commit.

For me, commitment was symbolized by hitting the “order” button and joining AWAI’s Circle of Success. For you, it may be something totally different … like sending in your first spec assignment, or buying a new desk — or cleaning off the old one.

The fact is, it doesn’t matter what it is that symbolizes your commitment. You just need to commit.

Because once you commit, the world … your world … will change — and fast.

You see, when I took the plunge and hit the submit button on September 26, 2008, I had no idea how quickly the world would line up to help make my goals fall into place.

To be more precise, after a half-hearted attempt to live the writer’s life for the previous five years (I first joined up with AWAI in November of 2003), I finally committed to my dream. And that’s when things got really exciting …

My commitment is still to become an A-level copywriter. I’m not there yet. But I’m on my way. And the first step on that journey was to commit to being a full-time copywriter by the end of 2009.

So with that in mind, the steps became pretty clear …

I decided the best way to become a full-time copywriter was to get myself to the 2008 FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair … just 45 days away.

And it was there that things really took off … beginning with a presentation by a copywriter named Mike Palmer. (Mike was introduced by Michael Masterson as head of the best copywriting team in the world.)

As you can imagine, I took notes.

In fact, my notes show the title of Mike’s speech as “Why Some People Fail and Others Succeed” and it was based mostly on the book Talent is Overrated.

Mike went on to say there were just four things you needed to succeed:

  1. A mentor or group to provide knowledgeable feedback
  2. Learn how and what to practice
  3. Learn how to be efficient and disciplined
  4. Become an expert in one thing

Then Mike said the words that changed my life forever …

Mike mentioned, almost off-handedly, that he was looking for two new copywriters to join his team at Stansberry Research.

And, since I was truly committed to my new goal of becoming a full-time copywriter by the end of 2009, I was open to any avenue to get there from where I was.

I sat in on Mike’s next presentation about financial copywriting. Afterwards, I cornered him in the hallway and said “Mike, I want to come work with your team in Baltimore.” He said I should find him at the Job Fair and that we would talk more there.

We talked, and he gave me a writing assignment that would serve as my resume.

So, after the toughest writing assignment of my life, several emails, and an interview in Baltimore, I was offered the job.

I moved to Baltimore February 1, 2009. And as of this writing, I have a promotion that is doing very well thanks to the mentorship, practice, discipline, and hard work with the team at Stansberry.

So, there I was, just 32 days into the new year, and just over 120 days from my date of commitment, working as a full-time copywriter with what Michael Masterson says is one of the greatest copy teams in the world … very cool.

Better yet, 2009 isn’t even over yet … I have several projects in the works and I am living my dream everyday of being a copywriter.

So what else happened once I committed?

Well, before I actually showed up for work in Baltimore, I had completed four paying assignments from the 2008 Bootcamp Job Fair and was in talks with another company about a staff position when I got the call from Mike that I would be part of the Stansberry team.

I also landed several small jobs through some social networking which added to my portfolio.

You see, I was not content to let a possible opportunity with one company keep me from searching out alternatives for reaching my goal … and neither should you.

  • If your goal is to be a freelancer, commit to it.
  • If you want a staff position, commit to it.
  • If you want $100K per year, commit to it.
  • Whatever it takes, commit to it.

And more importantly, make it happen. Don’t wait for it to fall into place by itself. You put it into place.

I heard Charlie “Tremendous” Jones say one time,

“You don’t make the ‘right’ decision, you make a decision and then make it right.”

It’s more important that you commit to the decision and make the decision work than it is to worry about getting everything just right.

Nike really does have it right with their slogan “Just Do It.”

While I still have a whole lot to learn and a lot of hard work ahead of me, I am on my way … thanks to the power of commitment.

My wife was quite pleased when I showed her my $1,000 check for winning one of the Bootcamp Spec Challenges. And by the way, it was the lead I’d been sitting on for over a year that won the prize. (So if you have a spec you’ve been sitting on, why not send it in? After all, it won’t make you any money or get you any closer to your dream sitting on your hard drive.)

And to think all this and more started with the simple act of finally committing to myself and my dreams … without worrying about the what ifs … the doubts … and the obstacles sure to come my way.

Best of all, thanks to the power of commitment, what I once saw as obstacles are now nothing more than mere steps on the path to certain accomplishment.

As Mack R. Douglas, author of How to Make a Habit of Succeeding points out,

“The achievement of your goal is assured the moment you commit yourself to it.”

If you want the assurance, then you have to commit …

One more thing …

Take a deep breath … Exhale … Okay.

Now, imagine what it would be like if one year from now you were the person you wanted to be … the writer, the designer, the local marketing guru … imagine it … take it in … believe it …

So, are you ready for the life that only comes through commitment? Are you ready for the assured achievement of your goal that only comes from the power of commitment?

If so, why not make hitting the “register” button and saving your place at the 2009 AWAI Bootcamp your symbol of commitment.

It’s easy to go ahead and commit to your dream … go ahead … you’re worth it and you deserve it. Click here now.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


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Published: August 17, 2009

3 Responses to “The Power of Commitment”

  1. Thanks for the article, Sean. That's EXACTLY what I needed to hear!

    Pam BodineAugust 22, 2009 at 1:43 pm

  2. Great motovational letter. I needed this right now. Thank you Sean

    Milt Trosper-B2B WebCopyAugust 22, 2009 at 6:12 pm

  3. Thanks, Sean. You got my attention. I've been sitting on 'stuff' for much too long. Bravo.

    Marilyn - Living the Best of BothAugust 23, 2009 at 10:34 am


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